by Katie Antoniou
I grew up with the idea that Halloween is a very commercial holiday, an American import which is simply being used to sell us more stuff, and in asking some of my fellow Brits, I've discovered that they also shared this opinion. However, in the last few years I've had a few experiences which have changed this perception altogether.
A few years ago I was working part-time as a nanny in a very nice part of Pimlico where many of the squares are inhabited by Americans. To my surprise, come Halloween, the little girls I nannied got very excited and explained to me what a big deal trick or treating was in their area. I helped them plan a little party at theirs before we set off around the neighbouring squares, in fancy dress, with a few parents along too. The surrounding streets resembled some sort of film set- with houses and doorways decorated from floor to ceiling- windowpanes covered with cobwebs, carved pumpkins lining doorsteps and all sorts of frightening props on display. But from within the houses came the warm, welcoming glow of light and the noise of chatter and play- all the homes were happy to receive trick or treaters, with buckets of sweets at the ready.